PLAYER RATINGS: Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Nottingham Forest

Star man - Joe Mason

Star man - Joe Mason

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , chief football writer

WANDERERS (4-4-2)

ADAM BOGDAN...7 One excellent double save but also claimed a string of crosses to ease the pressure. Rewarded his manager’s faith.

KEVIN MCNAUGHTON...7 Up against a tricky customer in Antonio but proved more than a match. Only downside was being out-jumped for second goal.

MATT MILLS...6 Caught out early on under a high ball and lost Assombalonga for the first goal – improved drastically in the second half.

DAVID WHEATER...8 Took his goal well but defended resolutely too. Good to see the Redcar Rock back with a smile on his face.

TIM REAM...6 Tough start against skilful winger Burke but recovered his poise pretty well after the break.

CHUNG-YONG LEE...5 Couldn’t get into the game. A few flashes of skill but we should expect more from a player of his class.

JAY SPEARING...5 The skipper will know his challenge on Assombalonga was a rash one. Not a great day at the office.

MEDO KAMARA...5 Sometimes guilty of trying too hard. If Medo relaxed in possession a bit more, his game would improve.

NEIL DANNS...6 Put in his obligatory shift but didn’t make the impact he would have wanted on the ball.

CRAIG DAVIES...7 Plenty wrote the Wales international off – but this is a leaner, meaner version. He deserves credit for that.

JOE MASON...8 Dream start but Mason added an extra dimension to the Whites with his vision on the ball and movement off it.

Subs:

Pratley 65 (for Medo) Worked hard after coming on 6

Trotter 70 (for Danns) Added some extra energy for last 20 minutes 6

Beckford 87 (for Davies) One effort ruled offside 6

Not used: Lonergan, Dervite, Feeney, Wilkinson.

STAR MAN – Joe Mason Mason looked a class apart at times with his touch and movement, meaning that Forest defenders Hobbs and Fox could never switch off. Freedman’s patience appears to have paid off, especially if a burgeoning partnership with Craig Davies can be fostered.

FOREST (4-4-2)

KARL DARLOW...6

JACK HUNT...7

JACK HOBBS...6

DANNY FOX...5

DAN HARDING...6

CHRIS BURKE...6

CHRIS COHEN...8

ANDY REID...7

MICHAIL ANTONIO...6

BRITT ASSOMBALONGA...8

MATTY FRYATT...7

Subs: Lichaj 85 (for Antonio), McLaughlin 89 (for Burke), Veldwijk 90 (for Fryatt) Not used: De Vries, Grant, Osborn, Paterson.

THEIR STAR MAN – Chris Cohen

While Assombalonga might grab the headlines for his goals, it was Cohen who knitted things together nicely in midfield – drawing big praise from Stuart Pearce after the final whistle.

MATCH STATS

POSSESSION – Wanderers – 42 Forest - 58

SHOTS ON TARGET Wanderers – 2 Forest - 7

SHOTS OFF TARGET Wanderers – 7 Forest - 13

CORNERS Wanderers – 2 Forest - 10

FOULS AGAINST Wanderers – 14 Forest - 9

OFFSIDES Wanderers – 4 Forest -1

Booked: Wanderers – Spearing 37 (foul on Cohen), Pratley 85 (foul on Hunt), Mills 90 (foul on Assombalonga) Forest - None Sent off: None

Attendance: 15,753 (2,517)

Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne and Wear) 7

The fact that Ilderton was a little on the liberal side worked in Wanderers’ favour as Spearing was given just a solitary yellow for a challenge after the penalty, and warned for a couple of other late challenges.

Goals: Wanderers – Mason 4, Wheater 29 Forest – Assombalonga 27, 35 (pen)

Entertainment – 7/10 The first half was action-packed to say the least. The second half had its moments but both defences managed to shore themselves and keep the status quo.

Atmosphere – 6/10 Flat before kick-off but thankfully picked up after Mason’s early goal. The doubts prompted by the previous two performances were very evident in the crowd’s reaction.

Key to the game – Spearing’s rash challenge at 2-1 proved the difference maker. Had Wanderers protected their lead at that point and kept their heads, it’s a different game altogether.

Magic moment – One sublime piece of skill from Mason lit up the second half - a drag back to beat two Forest defenders on the half way line.

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